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- Cesspit Service
The Cesspit Emptying Service operates from Griffiths Yard with a fleet of 36 tankers, collecting approximately 650 loads of sewage every day! This service is operated by States Works through a contract with Guernsey Water.
The service is for customers whose property is not connected to the sewer network. At these properties wastewater is held in a cesspit until it is collected by a cesspit tanker. The tanker then travels to an emptying point, where it discharges the sewage it has collected into the island's sewer network. Our pumping stations then transfer it through our network to Belle Greve Wastewater Centre.
As part of a wider project to improve wastewater services to create a fair and equitable service, the cesspit emptying service is changing, you can learn more about the changes, and the service itself, on this page.
What is changing?
The point of contact for all cesspit emptying enquiries moved from States Works to Guernsey Water on 1st November 2021. Cesspit emptying charges will also soon move from their own invoice, to your existing water bill, you can view an example on our about your bill page.
If you currently pay your water or cesspit emptying charge by Direct Debit changes may be made to your existing agreements as follows.
- Your existing Direct Debit with States Works for sewage collection charges will cease. If you have no existing Direct Debit instruction with Guernsey Water, your cesspit emptying charges can be settled in the same way you choose to settle your water bill.
- If you have an existing monthly Direct Debit instruction with Guernsey Water, your monthly payments will be reassessed to incorporate your cesspit collection charges, the new monthly amount will be confirmed to you in writing.
- If you have an existing quarterly Direct Debit instruction, this will now incorporate your sewage collection charges. The total amount to be collected will be viewable on your water bills.
The Cesspit Emptying Service
What to do as a cesspit customer
If you have a cesspit on your property, you are responsible for having it emptied at appropriate intervals to ensure that it does not overflow. Sewage that overflows from a cesspit is not only unpleasant, but it can also have an environmental impact if it enters groundwater or streams.
The majority of cesspits on island are emptied on a scheduled basis, this can be based on the number of people in your property or more specifically to the amount of wastewater your household produces. Ad-hoc or emergency emptying also takes place when required. You can arrange a scheduled collection by calling our customer service team on 229500.
You will know when your cesspit has been emptied as you will be left a card detailing the number of loads collected, this information will also be present on your quarterly water bill. If you do not wish to receive a paper card, or would prefer to receive notification via email, you can sign up for email notifications by completing the form. Sign up to receive emptying notifications by email
You may notice that your cesspit needs regular emptying in wet, wintry weather and less in dry, summery conditions. This could mean that groundwater is leaking into your cesspit, or sewage is leaking out of it. Both cause problems for the environment. Collecting groundwater by tanker and pumping it to Belle Greve via our sewer network increases our carbon footprint and the cost of the emptying service. Sewage leaking into the ground causes environmental pollution. You may need to get your cesspit checked by an expert (Please note, cesspit checks are not carried out by Guernsey Water or States Works).
If your property is vacated or becomes connected to the public sewer you are responsible for the cancellation of scheduled collections in writing.
If you notice that your collection requirements change for no known reason, it may be an indication of a water leak in your property discharging directly into a drain, for example, a leaking toilet. If you are concerned about changes to your requirements, please contact our customer service team on 229500, who will be able to advise you.
In order to continue improving the efficiency of the service over the coming years, Guernsey Water will be collecting data relating to the Island's cesspits. This will include GPS mapping and photographs, it may also include the metering of your water service. You will not be charged for the installation of a meter, nor will you be transferred to metered charging if you currently pay based on the TRP of your property. You can however request to be switched to metered charging if you prefer.
Guernsey Water works with Environmental Health to ensure that overflowing cesspits are quickly identified and remedied. If you believe that a cesspit is overflowing on the Island, or you believe that sewage has entered a stream, please contact Guernsey Water on 229500 as soon as possible.
Help us to help you
There are times where our staff are unable to empty your cesspit, this could be for a number of reasons, help us to ensure you don't run the risk of an overflowing cesspit or sewage back up by following the points below. Although at times there may be room for a cesspit hose to pass, due to the whipping motion which can occur during pumping, an minimum width of 1.5m is required to safely empty your cesspit.
Ensuring we are able to empty your cesspit on the first visit enables us to run the service as efficiently as possible too, helping us to keep customer bills low.
You can also help us, yourself and the environment by ensuring you flush only the three Ps: Pee, Poo and (toilet) Paper. The flushing of wipes and sanitary products can cause blockages in your own pipework as well as in tanker pumps and the islands sewer network, potentially leading to sewer flooding and the back up of sewage into your home. Please also avoid disposing of fat, oil, or grease down the drain or toilet. To learn more about how to dispose of items correctly, please visit our dedicated page by clicking the button below.
Types of Collection
The cesspit emptying service offers three types of collection.
- Advise us how frequently you would like your cesspit emptied and we will ensure it is emptied on a routine basis. If you are unsure of how frequently your cesspit may need emptying, please contact our customer service team on 229500. Scheduled collections are charged at £7.83 (subsidised 2023 rate) per load. We can also provide you with a secondary schedule, this can be particularly useful if you have children that are students. You can have a primary schedule for term time and a secondary schedule to cover the holidays. With this arrangement you would only have to tell us once, the schedules would automatically change on your requested dates.
- You call us as and when you require your cesspit to be emptied on 229500. In order to make the service more efficient we would like to have as many customers as possible on scheduled collections. Please note, adhoc collections will no longer be collected on the same day that they are requested but will be scheduled within three working days of your request. Adhoc collections are charged at £7.83 (subsidised 2023 rate) per load.
- There may be times where you require an emergency collection, if, for example, your cesspit is at risk of overflowing as the result of increased water usage. Emergency collections can be arranged by calling 229500 anytime of day. An emergency collection will be collected within 4 hours of being reported. Call outs for emergency collections are charged at £40.00 during working hours and £96.00 outside of working hours (2023 rate).
Charges & How to Pay
The subsidised rate for cesspit emptying is £7.83 (2023 rate) per load. If your property is within 30 metres of the sewer network, you pay the unsubsidised rate of £23.42 (2023 rate) per load, the actual cost of collection.
If you are within 30 metres of a sewer, and would like to be connected, please contact our customer service team.
To learn more about your bill and how to pay, please visit our About your bill page below
Why is there a wastewater charge and a charge for sewage collection?
Your cesspit emptying charge contributes towards the cost of the service provided to empty your cesspit and discharge the contents into the sewer network. The wastewater charge contributes towards operating and maintaining the Island's sewer network as a whole.
Although your property is not directly connected to the network, it is still required and used when your sewage is discharged following each emptying of your cesspit.
To learn more about the history of the wastewater charge, please visit our wastewater charge page below.
- If a full load hasn't been collected from my cesspit, why am I being charged for one?
We currently charge per load as this is the only measure that is available. If we attend on several occasions and find that there is half a load or less, we will contact you and suggest you change your collection frequency.
Can I email in my collection request?
Yes, please use email@example.com.
Why hasn't my cesspit been emptied?
The main reasons for non-collection are; parked cars, a dog loose in the garden, unable to pump due to a blockage.
Who do I call for an emergency collection?
Call 229500 and an emergency collection will be arranged
I need to arrange an additional collection or change my schedule, who do I contact?
Contact Guernsey Water on 229500, firstname.lastname@example.org
Why isn't my cesspit waste measured like water is?
if sewage was put through a water meter, it would clog up immediately. However, we will be trialling technologies for measuring changes to the weight of our tankers. If found to be reliable this would enable us to check whether a full load has been collected.
When will my property be connected to the main sewer?
Unfortunately we cannot say as it will take many decades to extend the network.
Is the mains extension programme going to begin again?
This is something we will begin investigating in 2022, it is important to note that major investment will be needed over many decades to come.
Am I able to connect to the main drain?
Guernsey Water holds information on properties that currently could connect to the main sewer. You can have further confirmation of this by contacting Guernsey Water by emailing: email@example.com
How will I know when my cesspit has been emptied?
You will know when your cesspit has been emptied as you will be left a card detailing the number of loads collected. If you do not wish to receive a paper card, or would prefer to receive notification via email, you can sign up for email notifications by visting water.gg/cesspitservice and completing the e-notification form.
Billing and Accounts
I am on a cesspit, so why am I paying a wastewater charge?
The wastewater charge covers the cost of maintaining the foul sewer network. All wastewater passes through this network, including sewage collected from cesspits.
I believe I am being incorrectly charged, what do I do?
Contact Guernsey Water by telephone on 229500 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and your charges will be investigated further.
I am moving into a property with a cesspit, what do I need to do?
Please complete the online form which is available at water.gg/moving-home, an account will then be created, and a welcome pack sent out. If you do not have access to the internet, please call Guernsey Water on (01481) 229500.
The amount of water I am using is less than the amount being collected from my cesspit, why is this?
The most common reason for your usage not matching what is collected is that your cesspit is not watertight. This means that rain water or ground water could be getting into your cesspit making it fill quicker.
Why am I not paying a subsidised rate? Is this going to change?
Your property is able to connect to the sewer network however, you or the previous resident have chosen not to connect to it. If you would like to connect, please contact our customer service team.
I believe I need a new cesspit, what do I do?
You would need to contact a local drainage company who will help you with your query.
I believe my cesspit is leaking, what do I do?
Your cesspit will need to be emptied and then inspected; a local drainage company will be able to do this for you.
I am on a shared cesspit, who is responsible for paying the bill?
If you are on a shared cesspit, the bill is divided equally between the properties sharing the cesspit in question.
My cesspit is overflowing, what do I do?
Call (01481) 229500 and an emergency collection will be arranged
I have seen an overflowing cesspit, what do I do?
Call (01481) 229500 and an emergency collection will be arranged
Wastewater Services Information Booklet